Georgia CTSA-supported Research at UGA Featured in NIH Director's Blog

Katherine Ehrlich, PhD, assistant professor of psychology, University of Georgia (UGA), received a 2018 NIH Director’s New Innovator award to “study whether acute or chronic psychosocial stress during childhood might sensitize the body’s immune system to behave in ways that damage health. . .” The study, featured in the NIH Director’s Blog, talked about the innovation of involving children in real-time, eliminating “recall bias.”

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The first study outlined in Ehrlich’s award is currently ongoing at UGA’s Clinical and Translational Research Unit (CTRU), a Georgia CTSA Clinical Research Center, where she will investigate links between levels of psychosocial stress and blood levels of antibodies by studying 150 children who will receive the flu vaccine. She and her colleagues are studying the potential effects of psychological and social factors, such as depression, household dynamics, and problems at school on children’s antibody production following vaccination. “In my grant proposal, I talked about the unique advantage of having access to the CTRU for my research,” Ehrlich noted. “I couldn’t do the study without the staff and facilities at the CTRU, so I feel very lucky to have such a great resource right on campus.”

The Clinical and Translational Research Unit (CTRU), located on the UGA Health Sciences Campus, supports investigators to conduct clinical and translational studies that advance the understanding, prevention, and treatment of human disease. For students and health sciences trainees, the unit provides opportunities to learn how laboratory discoveries are translated into improved patient outcomes.

Georgia CTSA’s multi-site Georgia CTSA Clinical Research Centers (GCRCs) is a multilayered, flexible, and geographically distributed network created to meet the needs of translational and clinical investigators from Emory University, Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM), University of Georgia (UGA), Georgia Tech, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (Children’s). The GCRCs offers dedicated space and a variety of resources ranging from core laboratory services to a bionutrition unit to support the research process at a subsidized cost. Clinical sites, including nursing services, are located at Emory University Hospital, Grady Memorial Hospital, UGA, MSM, Children’s, and Emory University Midtown.

The Georgia CTSA is a statewide partnership between Emory, Morehouse School of Medicine, Georgia Tech, and UGA and is one of over 50 in a national consortium striving to improve the way biomedical research is conducted across the country. The consortium, funded through the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) and the National Institutes of Health’s Clinical and Translational Science Awards, shares a common vision to translate laboratory discoveries into treatments for patients, engage communities in clinical research efforts, and train the next generation of clinical investigators.

NIH Blog